I have so much to be grateful in that my husband survived the virus, baruch Hashem. I have much to be saddened by, with the passing of my mother-in-law Mindel Perel bas Yisrael HaLevi and cousin Rachel bas Pinchas. Thankful arrivals and grief-stricken virtual funerals were a strange cocktail mix to start off the holiday season of Passover. As I’m writing this, T’hilim groups are having 24-hour prayer vigils for my dear friend fighting for her breath. I’ve listened to endless Torah lectures involving the purpose, message, and timing of this pandemic. While the sirens wail in the background as if it’s the soundtrack of the times, I deeply ponder what the real message is for klal Yisrael and particularly the “Orthodox” enclaves. Was it the synagogue that stayed opened past the public warning? Is it the people of a particular age group that fail to understand their role in spreading this highly contagious disease? Is it the constant judgment and blame against Jewish women wearing sheitels, shorter skirts, or lipstick? Is it gossip, hatred, ego, and/or lack of the true spiritual connection to G-d?

Certainly this is a time to examine the content of what we are reading, writing, seeing and doing. It brings me to question my own mission of The House of Faith N Fashion, where I combine art, culture and fashion with Torah based teachings. Currently, it seems that the arena of creativity in humankind has given way to crisis of human nature. My hopes are still to find meaning in my fusion and hopefully educate and entertain.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” chanted the evil queen in the famous children’s story of Snow White. In another famous story, we see how enchanted and disappointed Alice was as she approached and entered into the looking glass.  Rows of makeup mirrors on cosmetic counters in department stores can make you dizzy. Mirrors have an interesting place in our psyche. Do they hold truth, vanity, mystery, or divinity?

It was only last year that I casually asked a salesperson in a local Judaica store if they had a good selection of books written by women. I was promptly escorted to an array of gorgeous cookbooks glorifying challah baking, sumptuous holiday recipes, and elaborate table settings. While not discounting the importance of food in our culture, I wanted to find more meaningful and spiritual Torah content: perhaps a genuine sefer written by a woman.

Global fashion weeks that are politically motivated always raise my suspicions, especially with “of the moment” themes such as #metoo movements and results of the Weinstein trial. During Paris Fashion Week, Christian Dior relied more on feminist flea market signs than on new looks for the runway. It was as if they got lost at sea and live on an island of current events, losing the art of fashion to the world of headlines. Motty Reif’s Tel Aviv Fashion Week (March 15-19) celebrates positivity with energy of love and acceptance. Living in Israel, you can easily succumb to a myriad of divisive and negative frameworks, such as elections, terror, and the quest for peace and world acceptance. These could be four hot topics that would dictate any fashion week runway series. However, Motty stays true to who he is: an admirer, lifelong appreciator, nurturer, and sustainer of a women’s true self from the inside first and then the outside, as a complete canvas for beauty.

Life is big, but I like my jewelry even bigger!” is a perfect introductory quote from Liat Ginzberg, Israel’s trendiest jewelry designer. We first connected years ago at Bijoux at The Norton Museum of ART (now moved to The Art Armory). Since I am a big jewelry fan in every sense of the word “BIG”, I immediately gravitated towards Liat’s collection. Over the years we have formed a great friendship and she has customized an assortment of pieces for me that are the four Bs- bold, big, beautiful and brazen. Perfectly suited for the occasions as New York Fashion Week’s runway shows and media appearances.